Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

We had to leave the Grand Teton area rather quickly due to upcoming weather. Our plans included heading to Glacier National Park, however since some of the roads are still closed due to snow we decided to wait and go there another time. We are now heading west! Towards the ocean! Our new plan is to go up the coast of Oregon and Washington.

WingsatCBinBoise

After leaving the Grand Teton area we drove across Idaho and ended up having our first overnight at the Cracker Barrel in Boise, ID. Or as we now call it, “Dinner, Bed and Breakfast.” The staff was really nice and we enjoyed our stay!

It is actually a week of “firsts”…first Harvest Host visit, first parking lot dry camping/Cracker Barrel, first time to camp in Idaho, and it will be our first time to camp in Oregon tonight. Oh, and our first time to stay at a Thousand Trails location!

Jefferson County Lake

The other day we left the beautiful Grand Teton area to head towards Idaho to have an inverter installed and get some other things done to be able to upgrade our solar. Then the plan was to go back to the Grand Teton area. Long story short, “everything takes longer than expected!” The first night was supposed to take one hour, six hours later at 10:40 P.M. after a fuse blew, we all called it a night! Now the quick one night side trip has turned into three nights (perhaps longer?!). We are creating a “silver lining” to this adventure and getting our SUV an oil change, rotating tires, etc.

We also found this gem of a campground! Lakeside with water, electric, and excellent cell reception for $15 a night!

Jefferson County Lake Campground

Upper Teton View

Upper Teton View

This is one of best boondocking sites in the United States! The views are totally amazing!! Add to that meeting up with some fun friends we had met in Moab and many new friends and it all equals an incredible experience! Not to mention this camping area is right next to Grand Teton National Park with scenic wonders and wildlife that go on for miles and miles!! You can even use this site as a base camp to explore Yellowstone and the Jackson Hole area! Life is good!!

Oh, and this happened…

 

If you plan to boondock in this area, here are some things we found helpful…

Signal Mountain Campground inside of Grand Teton National Park has a dump station, water, public showers, recycle bins, and laundry. The shower rooms are clean and have some of the best water pressure we have experienced in months!

There are water filling stations throughout the park, look for the moose sign. At these you can refill water bottles and containers. The water filling station we went to was at the gas station/store on the way to Colter Bay.

We had a yummy breakfast at Buffalo Valley Cafe in Moran, which is probably the closest place to have breakfast in the area. Every morning about 7:30 (time may change depending on season) they let about 70 horses out…amazing to watch! Plus, if you drive further down Buffalo Valley Road you will find some amazing photo opportunities and even another place to dry camp.

The pizza is surprisingly good at Leek’s Pizza inside of Grand Teton National Park. It is located near Leek’s Marina, so you can eat outside and have a water and mountain view! Go around dusk, see wild life and eat pizza (they even have gluten-free)! They do also have salads, sandwiches, beer, wine, and ice cream.

There are many wonderful hikes around the camping area and in the park. We especially enjoyed hiking around Jenny Lake!

Be sure and enjoy the sunsets and fire rings at Upper Teton View!

We enjoyed our time there so much we are heading back in a couple days!!

RVing, Caregiving, and a Special Book

I just finished this wonderful book and wanted to share some thoughts…

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In the past several years we have had to make many decisions about care for our older relatives and our part in their care. In addition, we started RVing during this time. I found myself relating to and totally enjoying this book!! It touched me deeply.

In 2013, we moved to Texas for many months to be with my father-in-law while he was in Hospice care at home. It was such a precious season with him and we were so thankful for that time.  After he passed we resumed our nomadic ways…traveled and moved around. During this period we bought our RV and started adventures in it. Then late last summer, we put everything on hold, put our RV in storage and rented a place in Arizona to help care for my mother-in-law and help my mother with my grandparents. We are so thankful we did, we made so many wonderful memories. My grandfather passed away in April and I’ll always be thankful for those months I had with him before we passed.

Both my grandparents enjoyed RVing for decades and often talked about it. In the months before my grandfather passed he encouraged us to get back out in our RV and have adventures. And so we have…always keeping him in my heart along the way!

My grandmother is 104 now. In January, she went into Hospice care and recently she came out of it. The other day on a phone call she asked me to come get her and take her on adventures with us. Once she hears of Norma’s adventures, I am sure she will really want to…laughs. Not sure that we can, but it is fun to think about.

We are never sure what the future holds…for us or for our loved ones…this book reminds us to live well each day and say, “yes!”

 

Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake

 

Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake are both in beautiful Colorado state parks. The campgrounds at both are very nice! These state parks are only a few miles from each other and about 45 minutes north of Steamboat Springs, CO.

The campgrounds have non-electric and electric sites for RVs and tents. Both have amazing views. Steamboat Lake State Park has a much larger campground with far more sites, dump station, showers, laundry, and even a store. Pearl Lake State Park’s campground is a bit more cozy and many sites are close to the water. If you need cell reception to work, the signals are much stronger at Steamboat Lake State Park, we had up to 5 bars LTE on Verizon! Also, if you need WiFi (and good food), try out Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse.

We continued to be amazed by Colorado’s state parks! We are putting our annual park pass to good use!

Campground Reviews & Memberships

notallwhowander

We often get asked about how we find our camping spots and what memberships we find helpful. We decided to write a blog post about these topics.

When we first started out RVing we used Good Sam and general Internet searches for reviews when planning our stays. We eventually wrote a few reviews on Good Sam. We are currently Good Sam members, however we will only be as long as we feel we are getting value out of our membership. We eventually started looking at other places for reviews. Our two favorite places are Campendium and RV Park Reviews. We also sometimes use freecampsites.net.

Our camping preferences are boondocking on dispersed land, state or national park campgrounds, or a small quiet basic RV park. Sometimes though for various reasons we find ourselves at an RV resort.

Sometimes we carefully plan our adventures and other times “serendipity happens!”

We are trying to get better about taking time to review places after we have stayed at them. It is a work in progress that depends on time and cell phone/WiFi reception/connection.

As for memberships…these are our thoughts based on our limited experience this past year…

Our most used membership is Passport America. It pays for itself in one or two stays! We have never had a bad experience at any of the campgrounds listed with PA. Some are nicer than others, it pays to read reviews carefully.

Good Sam  ~ Our first year we used this very often for the 10% discount, but have not used it lately at all. We will probably not renew next year. So far it has not paid for itself this year. However, it was a great place to start when first RVing. We still do use their trip planner from time to time.

KOA ~ Last year we found some deals at KOA campgrounds, used the membership discount, and had good experiences. We felt it was worth it. So far this year we are thinking it is not worth it. We had okay experiences, but felt we overpaid for what we got. Hoping we have better experiences in the future.

Boondockers Welcome ~ We did not renew this year. We had it all last year and never once did it work out for us to stay at one of their properties. We did try, but the people were not at home the dates we needed, the space was not available, or our RV was too large (never thought we’d hear that! Actually, it was the combination of our Pathfinder and our Shasta).

Escapees RV Club ~ We renewed this membership. We feel it provides great value between the information, discounts, and Xscapers. We especially enjoyed the Xscapers convergence we attended!

We recently purchased the following memberships, but have not yet tried them out…

Harvest Hosts ~ We feel this will pay for itself it one or two stays. We love the pictures we see of others’ stays at Harvest Host locations.

Thousand Trails ~ We have heard the good and the bad about TT. We purchased the 2 for 1 Zone Pass. We know it may or may not be our cup of tea. We will keep you posted on our experiences with TT.

Note: We are certainly not experts on these topics or anything pertaining to RV life. We are just fellow travelers sharing our experiences. There is no “one size fits all” or “right” way to do anything in the RV lifestyle!

Enjoy the journey!

A little spot by the river

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View of the Yampa River from the back of our campsite.

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Wings backed up to Yampa River

 

Again, our plans changed…as we say, “serendipity happens!” We ended up getting this sweet little spot by the Yampa River right behind it. It is lovely to sleep to the sounds of a rushing river! This will be our base camp as we explore the Steamboat Springs area. We already explored some amazing Italian food last night! We had the best meal we have had since arriving in Colorado at Mazzola’s Italian Diner! Actually, it was some of the best Italian food I have ever had, ranks up there with NYC and Italy!